Until very recently, I was a great supporter of the feminism movement. I will admit to being a little confused. Somewhat socially awkward, I tend to get my cues from others. If I don’t understand a social behaviour, but everyone insists that things are a certain way I will accept they probably understand social cues better than me.
My friends are pretty damn liberal. No, extremely left wing. If they told me that some issue of the day was a problem I’d go along with it. Mostly I agreed and they had a strong anti-bully stance. They are right about one thing. I completely suck at recognising the issues of others. Of course, a bunch of middle class white girls suck at this as well. In hindsight I probably should have realised that.
So it came to a head when we got to shirtgate. Yes, I could see their point. It could cause offence. But I didn’t really think the trial by twitter was appropriate. I could easily have made that mistake – assuming that since a woman made the shirt for me it isn’t sexist.
But Matt Taylor wore the wrong shirt. I saw myself in his position. Like me, he missed the social cues. He probably felt that if a female friend made it it wasn’t sexist. He was wrong.
As a result of his mistake, he was hounded by the media. He was brought to tears. This upset me. I saw bullying.
I. HATE. BULLYING!
It’s far too easy to ignore it. To be a bystander. To accept it as it is. Or to excuse it. None of these people meant to cause upset. They had very noble goals. But it was bullying. I am not a bystander. I am going to challenge it. Because bullying is bullying. It isn’t about the tone. It doesn’t matter how polite you were. The end result is what matters.
So I tried to engage these people. I tried twitter. Politely explaining to various important people that they really ought to look into this. Apparently not.
Some friends posted comments about sexism and STEM and so on on facebook. These are the staunch anti-bullying people and I actually know them. I tried to address the issue. The best I got was “I don’t see the problem. He apologised”. I tried explaining my position. Apparently I need to need to have previously criticised the media’s obsession with clothing before, before I was allowed to have an opinion. And when I demonstrated that I did? I’m trivialising it by making the comparison.
When the conversation got to “tone policing” I realised I’d hit a brick wall. How do you respond to an argument that is both inherently illogical and misapplied? And so I mock it. Their entire argument consisted of reframing my argument to ones they’ve seen before, and applying the established community consensus. They resorted to links to ridiculous left wing blogs making ridiculous claims and forming ridiculous conclusions from them. I realised the conversation wasn’t going to get anywhere. It was then I realised. These people have never had an original thought in their lives!
So, feminists. You have failed your movement. You are hypocrites who failed to address bullying in your own ranks. I will no longer have anything to do with you.
Idiot trolls – you are as bad. Honestly – rape threats? Have you any idea how badly your actions reflect on the rest of us? Think about your own allies! Do you want more feminist bullying, because that’s how you get more feminist bullying.
Mens rights activists – give up your obsession with being the victim! Yes, there are extremist nutters. However, Swedish games being rated for sexism is just stupidity. It doesn’t affect your rights. Choose issues that actually matter. Like the lack of abuse shelters for men. Like the fact that men are more likely to be arrested, and get longer sentences for the crimes they do commit, and that if they’re raped there, it’s treated as a joke by society.
I will wrap up with this:
Here in the UK it’s been anti-bullying week. I’ve tried to do something about it. The only achievement I have is that I no longer associate myself with the bullies. I wish I could say more. I’ll just have to keep trying for the next 51 weeks.